Suki aka Susan Chesterfield, is finally being asked to dinner by Frank Omato, one of Al Capone’s enforcers, after finishing her dance number at the Green Mill in Chicago, when gunmen enter the club with their Thompson submachine guns, ready to take out Al and anyone else in his gang or in their way. Frank saves Suki’s life, pushing her out of the way and she escapes down the secret stairs behind the bar only to fall and break her foot. Everyone who knows how is escaping down the tunnels underneath Chicago’s streets which were used to deliver hootch to all the speakeasies on the route. But Suki can’t make her way out alone. She needs someone to help her and to get her to a doctor who can look at her foot. Frank comes to the rescue once again, making sure a doctor looks at her foot. She’s broken her talus bone in half and it will be weeks until the cast can come off and she’s able to dance again. How is she going to pay the rent? Frank comes to the rescue more than once, but there’s a catch. There always is, when a gangster is involved and wants you to be his moll. There is safety in being a gangsters moll. No one messes with Frank’s woman. But will she still be free and independent now that she’s Frank’s girl?
Falling for Frank, it is oh so easy to say yes. But the life of a moll isn’t an easy one. How will independent Suki handle being Frank’s moll? She’s itching to dance again and to break out of that cast and be free. But she knows she has to wait and to “live in the now.” “The right now.”
A rival gang paid for a hit on Al and the shooting at The Green Mill is one of several attempts against Al and his men. After four weeks of being cooped up in her apartment leaves Suki feeling restless, Frank surprises her by telling her he’s sending her to Miami, Florida on the train. Al and his men are going to Miami so Al can see the horse races at the new Miami Jockey Club in Hialeah. Knowing she is restless, Frank sends Suki down early on the train so she can recouperate at The Flamingo Hotel, the first grand hotel in Miami. She travels by train to Miami, first class all the way, courtesy of Frank, who will join her when he comes down with Al and his men.
But train travel isn’t without dangers. Something happens she can’t tell Frank about. How can she when she had three rules to follow and broke the first two even before she’d been gone twenty four hours?
The rules are harder for a flapper to keep than she’d thought they’d be. She wasn’t supposed to leave her compartment until she reached her final destination. That was the first rule she broke and kept on breaking. He’d be angry if he knew she’d been exploring the Jacksonville Florida train station instead of heeding his words She doesn’t dare tell him what happened to her, or about meeting Phillip in the dining car.
Phillip, is traveling on the same train as Suki and is seated at her table in the dining car when there are no other open seats. He recently moved to Miami from Barcelona, Spain and enjoys telling Suki all about his new home. Suki, who has never traveled anywhere until now, is fascinated by the well traveled and educated gentleman who seems to see right into her, noticing things few do. He promises to introduce her to his twin sister, Phyllis, who he believes will be a good friend to Suki.
Once she reaches Miami, her restlessness is even worse. She can’t wait to get the cast off and to be free of Enzo, Franks man, who Frank assigned to meet her at the train station and to help her with whatever needs.
We met Suki in ‘Trapping the Butterfly’ this is her story.
Suki is a dancer in Chicago at The Green Mill a club Al Capone likes to frequent. On this particular night she’s hoping to meet one of his men. She’s had her eye on him for a while and she knows he’s been watching her too.
She’s even wearing her lucky earrings that night until one flies off her ear.
This is a favorite scene.
When her earring flew off and skidded across the floor to eventually stop at his feet, he bent to pick it up with satisfaction. The earring was important to her; he’d seen that while watching her expressions change as the earring had been passed around the floor like a hockey puck. He’d seen how relieved she was that it was safe. Holding the delicate jewelry in his palm, he watched her dance.
Good. She’d be coming for the earring now palmed in his hand. He’d positioned himself at the end of the bar where he could see the entrance, as watching the entrances and exits were part of his job. But he’d still be near the hidden stairs behind the bar, which led to the green room for entertainers as well as the private rooms below. She’d have to walk past him to go downstairs to the green room where her coat and hat would be, if she planned to leave after her set.
Finishing her set, Suki gave a little bow to her applause; she then thanked the jazz band players, and then moved out of the limelight so the next hoofer could go on.
He watched her walk toward him across the floor; those toned dancer’s legs moving smoothly, her dark hair and the fringe on her white dress swinging as her blue eyes met his and held. Not breaking that gaze, he gazed right back and she barely blinked. This was no shy dancer, and she was headed straight for what she wanted. Which was the earring in his palm. He’d like to see her heading toward him wanting something else. He’d be more than happy to give it to her. Then she was standing in front of him, cool and breathy. Not afraid. Not shy.
“We haven’t been introduced.” Her words came out fast and low.
He leaned closer to hear her. “No, we haven’t,” he said.
“Nice to meet ya, Suki.” He said her name slowly and watched her reaction. There was a glimmer of something in her eyes. Attraction. He knew how to read the signs. “Frank Omato.” He reached for her hand, the soft, pale skin of her hand now in his. He kissed the back, watching the color in her cheeks rise. So, she liked that.
“Nice to meet you, Frank.”
“Suki, short for Susan?” Frank asked.
“Yes.” She nodded. “Susan Chesterfield.”
He didn’t comment on the last name and kept his eyes from glancing down to her chest, to her pert nipples beneath her white beaded dress. Instead he focused on her eyes, avoiding her red lips and the way they’d parted as she breathed out to answer him. “You prefer Suki?” he asked.
She nodded. “Yes.”
Frank’s voice was doing something to her, something that she’d never felt before, as his tones reached deep down inside of her. Her body responded to those tones, making her want to lean in closer. Softening her approach to him. Making her want to touch him.
The moment Frank took her hand and his hand touched hers, she felt a connection, stronger than the typical, oh you look good, attraction she usually had with good-looking men. Her skin warmed beneath his and she felt the connection all the way up her arm. Then Frank kissed the back of her hand and goose bumps pebbled across her shoulders and neck.
This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime things, this connection. She didn’t know how she knew, but she did.
He asked for her real name and she gave it. “Yes,” she said. “Susan Chesterfield.” Heat rose in her cheeks as she blushed, something she hadn’t done since she was thirteen and Johnny Scarlatti teased her on the playground.
And that was what Johnny had teased her about so long ago. Her budding breasts, which all the boys had noticed, while her mother was too busy drinking and entertaining the next “uncle”, who always noticed them. Her mother stayed too busy pleasing the latest man, too busy to buy Suki proper undergarments or to teach her anything about being a woman, or sex.
Suki had learned about sex all on her own. By being observant and, later, with the help of one of those “uncles” who noticed everything and knew just how to do everything. She’d quickly learned how to please a man and lost any shyness she’d had as a girl.
Tonight, this was a whole different kind of blush, for she wasn’t shy. Frank was a gentleman treating her like a lady, while her body warmed from being so near to him. Those breasts she’d been teased about now sported pert nipples; the show dress didn’t hide them since she wore nothing but silk stockings and silk panties underneath. She was fairly certain he’d noticed, though he’d been gentleman enough not to look directly at her chest.
He turned her palm over, creating more delicate shock waves along her body at his touch. “I have something of yours,” he said.
“Yes,” she breathed as the chemistry arced between them like an electrical storm she’d once watched, the light show crackling across the treetops.
Frank was a strong and dangerous man, an enforcer in Al’s gang. This attraction between them, like an electrical storm, was dangerous to play with and impossible to ignore. Just like Frank Omato.
He placed the earring in her hand, and then with a light caress of her palm pulled his fingers away, making her catch her breath. She glanced down at the earring. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.” He closed her fingers back around the earring and then released her hand again.
She felt the loss of his touch immediately, and with a shock stepped back, her gaze flying back up to meet his. She wanted him to touch her again and knew he’d read that in her eyes.
“Dinner after,” he asked with such assurance it almost wasn’t a question. “If you’re free tonight.”
“Yes,” she breathed again, almost a whisper. “I’ll have dinner with you.”
Suddenly he turned his gaze away from her with a frown as his full attention focused on something near the front door. She glanced there, too, wondering what was important enough to break the intimate connection forming between them.
His right hand moved swiftly toward his heart, beneath his jacket, at the same time as his left hand wrapped firm around her left arm, moving her behind him. He stepped forward in front of her to shoot. “Go,” he said. “Get downstairs!”
Crouching down behind him she moved behind the bar, where Tony, the bartender, had crouched down, holding the door in the floor behind the bar open for everyone to escape. “Come on, hurry!”
Parmley, Debra. Dancing Butterfly (Butterflies Fly Free Series Book 2) Kindle Locations (135-182). Belo Dia Publishing Incorporated. Kindle Edition.
In her flight to get away Suki, injures her ankle and Frank rescues her. Getting her away from the club through the tunnels and then to a doctor.
In a cast for six weeks, she can’t dance and make money. That’s when Frank steps up and takes care of everything, her rent, heat, food all paid for.
When she gets restless, he sends her to Miami ahead of the rest of them. He gives her rules to follow and of course she’s going to break them.
She meets Phillip on the train, and he arranges for her to meet his sister once they’re in Florida.
Talk about complicated.
I love the way this plays out as I really felt bad for Suki feeling so confined by Frank’s attention.
There’s laughter, romance, tears, sizzle and that all important Happily Ever After.
5 Contented Purrs for Debra!
Click the Cover for More!
Debra Parmley writes military romantic suspense, contemporary romance, western historical romance, holiday romance, fairy tale romance, and 1920’s romance. She has 28 romance books out. She also writes fantasy, young adult, and children’s books as Debra Bishop. A Gemini, she thrives on writing more than one genre.
She lives in a motorhome full-time with her husband as they travel the U.S. and shares her adventures on her Beautiful Day Traveler blog. Debra has sold travel, walked the plank of a pirate ship off the coast of Grand Cayman, swum with dolphins in Moorea, and set foot in 13 countries. Debra is the founder of Shimmy Mob Memphis which raises funds for the local domestic abuse shelter. She was the host of Book Lights on Blog Talk Radio and interviews cover models on Cover Model Corner. Debra believes that “Every day we are alive is a beautiful day. “